Deserts

Deserts are regions of extreme aridity wherein the evaporation of water is more than what they receive from precipitation. Since such areas get very little rainfall, they have modest precipitation and at times, almost negligible human and animal existence. They are classified as Hot or Cold. Cold deserts are the regions that are covered by snow for most of the year round and so no water is available for flora or fauna. Hot deserts have extreme high temperatures that result in increased evaporation.

Given below are some of the biggest deserts in the world.

Antarctica

This is the southernmost continent in the world. The South Pole is also located here. Very low temperatures and little precipitation characterize the climate of Antarctica. The region is also very windy and dry. Though no human culture permanently resides here, a few thousand people stay here the year around at the research stations. The animals that endure in extreme cold conditions like penguins, seals, and nematodes are found here.

Arctic

The Arctic region consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Alaska. The region has very low temperatures and remains ice covered for most of the year. This cold desert region is unique as several plant, animal species and human cultures too have adapted to its harsh conditions over the years. The region has borne the brunt of global warming and has seen the shrinking of the Arctic sea and methane release.

Atacama

Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, lies to the west of the Andes range of mountains in South America. It is so very dry that some of the weather station located in the region has never received any drop of rainfall! It is so because it is situated on the leeward part of the Chilean coast range. Its soil has been compared to that of Mars. Some of the riverbeds in the region are believed to have been dry for thousands of years. This region has very sparse human population.

Gobi

It is a huge desert covering north and northwestern parts of China and Southern Mongolia. It does not receive any rain because it falls in the rain shadow area formed by the Himalayas that obstruct the rain bearing clouds. It was in Gobi desert that the first dinosaur eggs were found. Gold and copper deposits are found here. Despite the harsh climate, this place is home to many animals.

Kalahari

Kalahari Desert lies in Southern Africa and covers parts of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. The area receives very little rainfall and has very high temperature. It was earlier home to numerous animals like elephants, giraffes, lions, and leopards but these days one can only occasionally spot them. The Bushmen are the native tribe of the Kalahari. The area is rich in diamonds.

Sahara

Sahara is the hottest of all the deserts and is the third largest after Antarctic and Arctic. Its extent is almost the size of China. Its coverage includes most of North Africa. Huge sand dunes are the characteristics of this desert. Over the years, Sahara has become drier. Foxes, camels, antelopes, goats and scorpions are mostly found here.

Takla makan

Surrounded by Kunlun ranges, Pamir desert and Gobi desert is, Takla Makan in northwest China. It is the biggest desert of China. Its name has been derived from Turki that mean "a place of ruins." This region has the cold desert type of climate. The desert has shifting sand dunes and it is a hazard if one's got to cross the same. Very little water is available here. The area is rich in oil and oil gas and their exploration has resulted in the building of a highway to ease transportation.

Thar

Thar Desert forms a natural barrier between India and Pakistan and lies in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. The other name of the Thar Desert is "The Great Indian Desert." In India, it covers most of Rajasthan and in Pakistan, it covers most of the Sindh province. Unlike other deserts, this desert has varied vegetation, human culture and animal species. Rather some of the animal species that are extinct in other parts of India are abundantly found here.

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